Mayor hopes for IKEA at sit-down with Swedish statesman

Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) met Thursday with Swedish legislator, former prime minister and foreign minister Carl Bildt to discuss economic cooperation.

The two politicians also discussed various current foreign policy, domestic policy and economic issues in the context of cooperation.

But the top topic was talk of the opening of a Swedish IKEA furniture store in Riga – this would be one of the top investments here in recent years, the mayor told the press afterwards.

IKEA has yet to make its decision on plans for possible new stores, but Usakovs voiced hope that the company would open a store in Riga. "If IKEA chooses Riga, it would be one of the largest investments in past years, besides investments in the banking and financial sector," he said.

Commenting on Swedish-Latvian cooperation in the tourism sector, Usakovs said that while the number of flights between both countries would increase, there is one ferry less running between Riga and Stockholm.

"We discussed everything, starting with the funeral of murdered Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and ending with perspectives on reforms in Ukraine's economy," Usakovs told the press.

Asked whether the politicians discussed security issues, Usakovs said that all issues related with the situation in Ukraine, Russia, and the Baltic states to some extent involve security.

The Riga mayor also said that when the situation in Ukraine stabilizes, Riga will be ready to cooperate and share its experience.

Bildt has arrived in Riga to take part in the Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defense Policy organized by the EU Council on March 5-6.

Icelandic company Felit, which owns the Baltic franchise of the world's largest furniture retailer, had announced that Riga would be the most appropriate place for a new IKEA store, Estonian daily Postimees reported at the end of last year.

In August 2014 an IKEA store was opened in Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

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